The best intentions

Christmas charity gift bag with contents shown

I was riding my bike home. I passed a bus stop and circled back.

A red cloth bag with a yellow ribbon drawstring was on the ground next to the bus stop. A bunch of stuff was scattered around the nearby bench.

I thought, “There’s a story there!”

And there was.

From the photo, you can tell that a church or charity group made Christmas gift bags for lower-income people. Among the stuff on the ground were three sheets of paper with hand-written notes.

The bus stop is a three-minute walk from a Social Security office. Apparently, the person writing the notes lives in nearby Englewood. I discovered that from their name and address on the back of one of the pieces of paper – a bank statement!

For your benefit, here’s an excerpt:

I’m A Disabled Senior. Your Driver WAs Very Rude. I will PersUE This Until I’m Spocken To By A Supervisor. Your Drivers Apparently Are Not PAid Enough …

But back to my point.

Whoever took the time and spent the money to put together that gift bag did not hit the mark with this person. The recipient took a few things from the gift bag and discarded the rest.

I propose that the giver’s time would be better spent getting to know someone who has similar challenges to the unnamed bus passenger. Then they could see what the person’s real needs are. (Apparently, a Belgian milk chocolate-covered pretzel with holiday sprinkles was not on the passenger’s Christmas list for Santa. Two were unopened on the ground.)


The loss of something

As life moves forward, we lose some things.

When I was a kid, my family had encyclopedias. I used to enjoy sitting down and reading them. Or skimming them to find interesting articles. Hours and hours of my childhood were spent learning that way.

Today, kids have Wikipedia and Google. Both offer huge advantages over encyclopedias. But some things are lost. I wonder how many kids spend hours combing Wikipedia for interesting articles.

I have a Kindle, and I love it. But it’s far from perfect.

Recently, I learned of a high school not far away that is “paperless.” No books, except eBooks. Again, some good things come with that – but some things are lost.


Build it to last

no-longevitySo, I’m in this conference center. Well, at least the second floor was a conference center. Anyhow, one wall along the entrance consisted of several backlit photographs of famous site around the city of Boston.

Problem: all were faded. That tarnished my impression of an otherwise nice facility. Solution: simply painting the plexiglass panels a neutral color and putting small framed prints in the center of each panel would look much better at a fraction of the cost of getting new photographic panels.

The interior designer may not have known how quickly the panels would fade. Or the panels might have been there for ten years. In either case, putting them there without knowing the colors’ shelf life – or planning for their replacement – was a mistake.

Takeaway: How are you building that project to last? Or how are you planning for its replacement?


Time and changes


As time goes by, things change. We all know that – it’s a basic fact of life. But we don’t always accept it in our deep-down inner-selves. Somehow we expect things to remain the same. Relationships, our children, our home, our life. Even if it’s not a pleasing thing, when it changes, some of us get upset. Some people thrive on change and others hate it. You’re probably somewhere in the middle.

Anyhow, remember lick-em postage stamps? As we were clearing out my mom’s stuff, I came across this little stamp case – good for holding about 10 stamps in a compact secure way in your purse or (probably not) pocket.

In that case, change was good. Adhesive-backed stamps are superior in every way I can think of.

What coming change in your life is one you hate? Love?


It may take time


During our big hike, we encountered this massive slab of snow. Even though it was July 17 – and maybe 75 degrees – the snow still had a long way to go before it became water. That was the largest glacier I had seen at such a low altitude. (Last winter was one of the snowiest in many years.) For scale, Jay climbed on top – he’s below the point of the yellow arrow.

Takeaway: As you get frustrated with that situation that just doesn’t seem like it will ever change, be patient. It may take some time. And some warmth on your part may speed the desired change.




… Think outside the box.

Standard thinking is what causes boredom, stagnation and frustration.

However, if you are an innovator, be patient with those who resist change. They have something to offer you too – they will cause you to examine your wild idea that could be a very positive thing. They may help refine your idea.

We all need each other.